Work in its basic form can be viewed as something someone does that brings them dignity while making a contribution to the world in which they live. There are many people who have been emotionally checking out as work has emerged as something you do to keep shareholders or bosses happy. The concept of passion, mission, and uniqueness of contribution has dropped off the radar or has become something low on the list of priorities.
As more people have gone independent and are working outside of the corporation, another issue has arisen, which is one of isolation and loneliness. It is not unusual for the independent worker to find themselves cooped up in their loft, basement, or bedroom, only to long to another place to worl. Many of the coffee shops have found themselves being the new daily residence for independent workers who sometimes buy a coffee and muffin to justify setting up shop with their laptop for the day.
This is one of the reasons for the emergence of coworking facilities, which can be an office where someone has some additional space they need to rent out or something uniquely designed with the independent or startup in mind. These new spaces typically try to bring a quieter space than the coffee shop with a good wireless signal. Some have additional services like phones, printers, and meeting rooms.
The benefit of these places is that the independent worker not only gets a creative place to work when they need it but can also find themselves in conversations with folks of a similar mind and lifestyle. Great things happen when lots of people like this start hanging out together. Ideas and resources are shared and sometimes new ad-hoc groups are formed where various people work together to make each other a success. These small communities allow the independent worker to have more choice in their life while still having the option of trusted people to talk to and brainstorm with. At worst, there is still someone to chat with over lunch or coffee on a break.
So the term “independent community” may not be such a paradox after all. It may be simply a third way of working that suits the needs of those of us who like to live in hope of finding a more holistic lifestyle that brings dignity back to work in the midst of an engaged community.